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Health experts ask businesses to ban E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes

At first, E-Cigarettes were thought to be a safer alternative to regular cigarettes.

Now the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is saying what some call "harmless water vapor" may actually be dangerous. The Surgeon General is calling E-Cigarettes a "public health threat."

For almost a decade, smoking in Illinois bars or restaurants has been a thing of the past. But the evolution of E-Cigs has made it tough for business owners to know where to draw the line.

"It's not an easy subject,” Blind Pig Brewery owner Chris Knight said. “It's not a black and white subject. But of course, people don't smoke in the bar. We're not allowed to have that."

Most who vape believe E-Cigarettes are safer than cigarettes and want the freedom to vape inside.

"It only affects that person if there is toxins,” Champaign County resident Duane Carey said. “It's not going to affect anybody around them. So I'm totally for it."

But the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District cites recent studies showing E-Cigarette vapor contains chemicals found in formaldehyde, antifreeze, and pesticides, all known to cause cancer.

Something business owners can understand their customers not wanting to be around.

"If they are vaping with those large canisters that cause a lot of steam, then to be discrete about it, because some people don't like it,” Knight said. “If it gets to the point where we get customers complaining we will ask them to stop."

Some bars already ban E-Cigarettes inside for the sake of those customers who don't want to be around it, not because of health concerns.

But some customers think there should just be designated sections for vaping.

"I feel that person should have the opportunity to go smoke if he chooses to, without going outside in the freezing cold,” Carey said.

While the public health district realizes sending customers outside to vape might not be the most popular policy, they hope to add to the 300 businesses in Champaign County that already have E-Cigarette free policies.

E-Cigarettes became legal in the U.S. around 2006, so health experts don't know how the long term health effects will compare to cigarette users.

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